Procurement · 16 October 2017

A third of UK employees ready to resign over disorganised working enviroment

Disorganised working environment
One in four employees admitted they spent more time organising their workload than completing tasks

Almost one in three British workers are thinking about leaving their job due to a disorganised working environment at their company, as new research suggests staff spend almost as much time chasing loose ends than completing projects.

The study, from workflow management tool Asana, surveyed over 2,000 UK employees to shine a light on so-called “work about work” – the duplicated workloads, status meetings and tracking down of lost information causing frustrations for the workforce.

The findings showed that almost half of workers spend most of their day tied to such work, while one in four could be spending more time organising their workload than actually completing tasks. Meanwhile, almost half expressed frustration at being removed from a project before the work is finished.

When placed alongside past research into workplace productivity – and next to the Office for Budget Responsibility’s recent low productivity forecasts – the study suggested disorganisation is a growing problem. Back in 2012, McKinsey Global Institute found that the average worker spent just 19 per cent of their time tracking down information.

Read more: UK employees reveal the daily workplace distractions draining productivity

Commenting on the findings, Chris Farinacci, head of business at Asana, said a disorganised working environment was evident in companies of every size.

“Today, even at the world’s greatest companies, there are still constant challenges to keeping everyone on the same page, and way too much time is spent on ‘work about work’ instead of getting work done,” Farinacci said.

“Information overload combined with a lack of clarity has led to these poor working habits, and it’s now outright limiting the productivity and morale of UK business teams and employees.”

Worryingly for employers, an unproductive working environment could lead to a staff exodus at their business. Almost a third of respondents admitted they had either thought of leaving or had previously left a job due to the company being to disorganised.

“The plague of work about work is hitting UK businesses hard,” Farinacci warned.

However, small businesses were found less likely to be bogged down with unproductive activities. While 54 per cent of employees at large companies spent half their day organising their workload, the figure dropped to around a third for those employed at small firms.

“The bigger your team, the bigger your mission, the bigger your coordination problem,” Farinacci added.

“And because work is now conducted across a range of technologies – from email to chat to shared documents – it is especially difficult for teams inside these larger firms to get that much-needed clarity and accountability on their work, projects, and campaigns. Collaboration seems to be at an all-time high, but productivity and morale are still quite low.”

Revealed: The ten most irritating office habits causing workplace conflict

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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